Smart Thinking

The Tactical Stampede

Management Anti Patterns – The Tactical Stampede. When deadlines and tactical thinking lead to an avalanche of expedient and costly decisions.

Exploring the Tactical Stampede as a managerial anti-pattern. 

Anti Pattern Name: The Tactical Stampede

Type: Organisational, Management

Problem: Time has not been well spent in business analysis, realistic planning and prioritisation of objectives. Often under-resourcing, lack of in-house skills, or simply the wrong people in post has led to ‘time wasting’ and little practical outcomes. Tactical Stampedes are exacerbated by hard deadlines, which leads in turn to ‘intelligent scheduling’ being the management approach for delivery. De-scoping, re-planning, reduced testing and overall reduced quality are typical.

Management Challenges for the 21st Century (Classic Drucker Collection)

Context: Tactical Stampedes are the clearest indication of a loss of control. They are very dangerous, difficult to stop and have a seductive momentum which can sometimes mask their true negative potential (metaphorically people are blinded by the dust). Tactical Stampedes spiral with quick fix being heaped upon quick fix, as ‘we must get something to work’ panic increases ahead of deadlines.

Forces: Lack of governance, unrealistic scope, too much concurrent change, lack of clear priorities in delivery, lack of Enterprise Principles, lack of governance, poor programme and project management.

Resulting Context: Tactical decision making becomes the norm and as desperation grows, any semblance of managerial or technical control is lost. The Tactical Stampede is in full flight.

Solution(s): Strong governance, clearly articulated Principles and ‘fast track’ waiver processes. Manage the cost of non-compliance (understanding the true cost of tactical decision making) and making well-informed and transparent decisions calmly and rationally.

Further Reading on Management Principles

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.